“By this point, I know just about all of the straight white man’s deepest fears because we’ve seen them projected on the screen about a billion times,” says director Anna Salinas. “I think there are plenty of women and trans filmmakers who are willing and able to make truly kickass horror films.”
Look no further than 2014’s The Babadook, says director Madeleine Gottlieb.
“[It’s] a bold and unnerving exploration of the biggest taboo of all: a mother feeling hatred for her child,” she says. “Writer/director (and fellow Aussie) Jennifer Kent has crafted an unfaltering Freudian study of grief, dysfunction, and breakdown between mother and son.”
Whether shot through the female lens, viewed through the female gaze, or resonant with the female audience, “we are seeing more and more horror films that speak directly to female experiences,” Gottlieb says.
Looking for examples? Below, five female filmmakers offer their recommendations.
View Trailer | This female directed horror movie is a perfect statement on capitalist America and the sick, delusional lives of the rich white men who desperately cling to the power they have over the rest of us. It’s beautifully shot, the script is witty as anything, and its slasher moments are truly frightening—but silly at the same time. Laugh at your serial killer, and take away his power.
–Karen Freed, Director, Lera Lynn “Shapeshifter” music video
Let The Right One In
View Trailer | I’m not a huge horror fan and this movie is one of my favorites of all times. It’s the film I recommend to anyone who says they hate horror films. It’s really a beautiful coming-of-age story set in Sweden, with a delicious vampire backdrop.
View Trailer | It’s so simple (three characters, one house), but it’ll creep you out like nothing else in the world.
View Trailer | The film explores what happens when we lose ourselves in the dark corners of our own psyche. And rather than the demonic bastardization of Crocodile Dundee we’ve come to expect from Aus horror villains, it is her own demons that Kent’s protagonist Amelia must confront. As we all do. This is intelligent and expertly crafted filmmaking. And its female hero never wears a tank top. Not. Even. Once.
An American Werewolf in London
View Trailer | It’s a comedy-horror with awkward person humor and impressive VFX for an 80’s film. [It] is totally about two hetero dudes on a bro trip in Europe and it wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test. However, its portrayal of women isn’t demeaning or negative. The female characters are just as equal as the male characters.
–Losa Meru, Head of Production, Out There Productions